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The Four Elements of a CrossFit Workout Routine
By Top Tier CrossFit
Whether you have just joined a CrossFit gym or are a CrossFit pro, it can be tempting to forego the structure of a CrossFit workout routine and jump right into the WOD (workout of the day). However, this can lead to both long and short-term injuries. It is important to remember to include the four elements of a CrossFit workout routine to gain the most from your workout and experience optimal physical health for the long term.
What to Expect From a CrossFit Workout Routine
A typical CrossFit workout consists of four elements, only one of which is the workout of the day. Whether you are training on your own, at the gym, or with a coach, it is important to integrate each of these elements into your workout schedule.
1. The Warm Up
A CrossFit workout warm up typically consists of several get-your-blood-pumping exercises over a timeframe of 12 to 15 minutes. More than the average workout’s 5 minute jog, a CrossFit dynamic warm up focuses on several muscle groups with exercises like jumping jacks, pull ups, lunges, squats, jumping rope and more. These warm up drills prepare the body and the mind for the coming workout as well as enhance overall athletic performance and help prevent injuries.
Time: 12-15 minutes
Exercises: jumping jacks, pull ups, lunges, squats, jumping rope, etc.
Purpose: To warm up the body and mind for the coming workout challenge. To enhance performance and reduce the risk of injury.
The CrossFit Workout of the Day, or the WOD as it is commonly called, is the heart of a CrossFit workout routine. Varying from day-to-day, the WOD mixes up the CrossFit workout routine and utilizes HILT and strength training. The WOD usually requires that the CrossFit member complete a certain number of exercises and reps as quickly as possible, OR to finish as many reps of a certain exercises as possible within a time constraint. The WOD is dedicated to pushing oneself on a daily basis as well as to assist members in achieving ultimate fitness.
Members of CrossFit gyms can usually find new WODs posted on the gym’s website or on workout boards. These gyms also offer daily classes which feature a different WOD each time.
Time: 10-20 minutes
Exercises: High intensity training that varies with each CrossFit WOD
Purpose: To become fit and push oneself.
3. Skill/Strength Training
On strength days, this element of a CrossFit workout routine is dedicated to building pure body strength through exercises like deadlifts, squats, and the like. On workout days dedicated to skill, this workout element focuses on drills to enhance a skill (often one needed for the following workout routine segment, the WOD). Other skill days can be dedicated to building your skill and focusing on the form of drills like muscle ups, one legged squats, etc.
Time: 15-20 minutes
Exercises: Strength building exercises or skill enhancing drills
Purpose: To gain the muscle memory, improve form, and increase overall health.
4. Cool Down/Stretch
The cool down or stretching time of a CrossFit workout routine is often underrated but it is during this time that the muscles have a chance to cool down without seizing or risking injury in future workouts. This is also the time to bring the body back to baseline in temperature as well as heart rate, and increase flexibility. This segment can consist of traditional stretching of the muscles as well as the use of stretch bands or foam rollers.
Time: 10-15 minutes
Purpose: To reduce the risk of injury, to bring the body back to baseline and increase flexibility.
The CrossFit Workout Routine Elements
The structure of a CrossFit workout routine consists of these four elements because each piece serves a purpose in reducing the risk of injury, increasing skill or muscle, and improving flexibility. Your body needs each of these segments within a workout routine to gain the most from your CrossFit workout and gym experience.